ALCOA, Tenn. (WVLT)- Four air refueling jets from the Mac Dill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida evacuated to McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base Saturday morning. Isaac's exact path is still unknown, but Air Force members said it's better to be safe, than sorry since each plane is used for national security and costs millions of dollars.
"I know any hurricane that starts to impact Florida is a big - special interest item for the base in general. So Mac Dill has been looking at this for awhile, ever since it was announced," said Air Force Captain Matt Swee, with the 91st Air Refueling Squadron.
For the Air National Guard Base, it means having a few extra people working this weekend, but the base is prepared to handle much more if needed:
"Our only role is to bed down the aircraft. But depending on the role and what we're asked to do, we can also accept evacuees should anything strike the southern Gulf Coast, as with what happened a few years ago with Hurricane Katrina," said Captain Joseph Keith, Executive Officer for the 134th Air Refueling Wing.
The 100 Air Force crew members brought everything they need with them from Florida, and will be doing their normal jobs from Tennessee.
"It's really nice that they have space on the ramp and the facilities that we're used to things here - everything's really similar. And the fact that we're able to work with the Air National Guard too really helps, because it kind of gives us that total force of integration, which is really good between active duty and Guard," said Swee.
And they're looking forward to exploring the area.
"We'll be at several different hotels. So hopefully we'll get some time off and get to look at the area. It looks pretty gorgeous from the air," Swee said.
Captain Keith said there's no set timeline for how long the Florida Air Force members will stay in Tennessee. He said it depends what happens with Isaac.
Keith said this isn't the first time the military has evacuated to McGhee Tyson. Last year, fighter jets and helicopters stayed during Hurricane Irene.